DEAR HARRIETTE: My children are 4 and 6 years old. They are young now, so they go to day camp over the summer. However, I was thinking recently that in a few years, different arrangements for their summers will have to be made. I went to sleepaway camp for years and had the best summers of my life in the hills of Pennsylvania. My husband never went to camp other than brief day camps. He played sports or went on family vacations during his summers growing up.
When I mentioned sending our children to camp, my husband said, "Bad parents send their kids to camp because they don't want to spend time with them." Excuse me? My parents had to work long hours as I was growing up, and they definitely needed a break in the summertime. They also wanted my sister and me to meet hundreds of other children and be in nature.
I never knew my husband was so against sending children away for a summer. He really struck a nerve with me. I want my kids to go to summer camp at some point in their lives. -- Struck a Nerve, Boston
DEAR STRUCK A NERVE: This strikes a chord with me. I was not a summer camp kid at all, but my 12-year-old daughter has been going to summer camp for four years now. Why? She really wanted to go, so I researched camps and found one, recommended by her school, that seemed safe and interesting. We started slow, with the shortest allowable stay of two weeks.
Begin to look into camps now; find out what families attend the ones that interest you, and tell your husband that there are tremendous benefits from the experience. Two weeks is hardly the whole summer, so starting with a short stay may pique your husband's interest a little. Of course, you also have to have a child who wants to do it. Between your two children, you will learn whether either or both want to try it out. If so, suggest to your husband that you give it a try.
Regarding the apology, it's not necessary. Just work on getting your children into a positive experience.